Literature: The Grimnoir Chronicles
"We now have over a thousand confirmed cases of individuals with these so-called magical abilities
on the continent alone. The faculty has descended into a terrible uproar over the proper nomenclature for such specimens. All manner of Latin phrases
have been bandied about. Professor Gerard even suggested Grimnoir, a combination of the old French Grimoire, or book of spells, with Noir, for Black, in the sense of the mysterious, for at this juncture the origin of said Powers remains unknown. He was laughed down. Personally, Iíve taken to calling them wizards, for the very idea of there being actual magic beyond the bounds of science causes my esteemed colleagues to sputter and choke
Dr. L. Fulci, Professor of Natural Science, University of Bern, Personal Journal 1852
Jake Sullivan is a war hero, a private eyeóand an ex-con. Heís free because he has a magical talent, being able to alter the force of gravity in himself and objects in his vicinity, and the Bureau of Investigation calls on him when they need his help in apprehending criminals with their own magical talents. But the last operation he was sent along to help with went completely wrong, and Delilah Jones, the woman the G-men were after, who just happened to be an old friend of Jakeís in happier times, had a lot of magical muscle with her, too much muscle for the cops to handle, even with Jakeís help.It got worse. Jake found out that not only have the Feds been lying to him, but there was a secret war being waged by opposing forces of magic-users. Worst of all, he had attracted the attention of one side's ruthless leaders-who were of the opinion that Jake was far too dangerous to be permitted to live...The Grimnoir Chronicles
"The learned gentlemen from the university have asked me if I relied on Einsteinís General Theory of Relativity or if I used the simpler rules of Newtonís Law of Universal Gravitation on the evening in question when I accidentally took Sheriff Johnsonís life . Shit. I donít know. I just got angry and squished the fucker
. But Iíve gotten better at running things and I promise not to do it no more."
Jake Sullivan, Parole Hearing, Rockville State Penitentiary 1928
is an Alternate History
fantasy taking place in the early 1930s
. Sometime in the 1800s magic appeared in the world
, giving a small fraction of the population one of a standard set of super-powers, such as fire
, and teleporting
. Just like his other series
, Larry Correia
provides some of the best action scenes out there, fueled by pure distilled Rule of Cool
. A gravity-controlling private eye teams up with a guy who can walk through walls to fight a bulletproof samurai. A teleporting ninja with a katana goes up against a teleporting Oklahoma girl with a shotgun. Bullets fly, demons are summoned, and stuff blows up
The first in the series is Hard Magic
(released May 3 2011). After Jake Sullivan fails to bring in his former Love Interest
for murder, he makes some inquiries and finds out that things aren't what they seem. He's soon caught up with a secret society
sworn to stop the Japanese Imperium, led by the indestructible Chairman Tokugawa
, from taking over the world. At the same time, an Okie
named Faye witnesses the murder of her adoptive grandfather at the hands of a mysterious one-eyed man. His dying command is for her to protect a strange mechanical device, designed by someone named Tesla
The sequel Spellbound
is out as of November 1 2011. It follows up on some of the sequel bait
from the first book — such as the entity
stated to be pursuing The Power
The third book, Warbound
was released in August 2013.
This work uses the following tropes:
- An Ice Person: Iceboxes
- Anti-Hero: Harkeness turns out to be a Grimnoir knight, who killed Pershing as part of a longer plan to defeat the Chairman. When Browning finds out, he still kills him for it.
- Action Girl: Both Faye and Delilah.
- And in the second book, Hammer. And Whisper, who throws a gods's fire back at it.
- Anti-Magic: The Dymaxion Nullifier is introduced in Spellbound.
- Babies Ever After: Sullivan marries Lady Origami and fathers a son at the end of the third book.
- Bad Ass: Just about everyone involved.
- Bad Powers, Good People: One of the Grimnoir is a Lazarus, an Active who can bring back the dead and are universally despised.
- Batman-Gambit: Harkeness is running one against the Chairman.
- Battle Couple: Jake & Delilah. Faye and Francis, briefly.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Faye very calmly vows to kill both Madi and the Chairman himself. She manages half of that, facilitates the other half and makes up the difference in mooks and property damage.
- Beware the Superman: Part of the Imperium's plan for taking over the world is to sow distrust of Actives in the United States, by framing them for a Peace Ray attack.
- BFG: Jake carries two different ones at various points of the book. During an Imperium assault on a Grimnoir safehouse, Heinrich and Francis break out a Browning M2 heavy machine gun, a weapon so large that Faye mistakes it for some piece of farm machinery.
- In Warbound, an Imperium super-bazooka that's basically a launcher for Boomer power appears, and it obliterates the top half on an apartment building in one shot
- Boxed Crook: Jake is a fairly free-range one at the beginning of the book.
- Big Bad: The Chairman.
- Bigger Bad: The Great Enemy
- Cosmic Entity: The Power itself turns out to be some kind of massive space... thing, which is in a symbiotic relationship with the people of Earth. It's on the run from a mysterious Enemy; can you say 'Sequel Hook?'
- Chekhov's Gun: Early on, it's said that the Chairman could only killed by a direct hit from a Peace Ray/Geo-Tel. Guess how he dies at the end.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Cornelius Gould Stuyvesant
- Cute and Psycho: Faye is an adorable farm girl who will also kill anyone she thinks is a bad person without hesitation (sometimes with unfortunate results).
- Cute Bruiser: Delilah.
- Dark Action Girl: Toshiko.
- Defector from Decadence: Toru.
- Designated Girl Fight: Faye vs. Toshiko. Despite this, it's an awesome fight scene featuring frenetic Teleport Spam on a flaming zeppelin in the middle of a pirate attack on said zeppelin. Did I mention Toshiko is a Ninja?
- Differently Powered Individual: in-universe, supers are variously referred to as Actives, Magicals and more.
- Distressed Damsel: Jane is kidnapped by the Imperium in the middle of the book.
- Dumb Muscle: The stereotype of Heavies is this.
- Elite Mooks: The Iron Guard and Shadow Guard are superpowered, very highly trained and magically enhanced to boot.
- The Empire: The Imperium, natch.
- Encyclopedia Exposita: Each chapter is opened with some historical quote, throwing out hints about the Alternate History, such as Hitler being executed before rising to power, Theodore Roosevelt dying in World War One against the Kaiser's zombies, etc.
- Evil Counterpart: see Evil Twin. Same applies to Faye and Toshiko.
- Evil Twin: Not a twin per se, but Jake and his brother (Madi) look similar enough that Faye shoots him on sight.
- Fiction 500: Cornelius Gould Stuyvesant is the richest man in the world, and owner of United Blimp & Freight. Francis is his grandson, and ends up inheriting the company.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Much of the current technology is produced or at least initially developed by Cogs, whose Power is a supernatural aptitude for a particular branch of science.
- Genius Bruiser: Jake. Exceptionally well-read, brilliant enough to figure out what the Power really is, and a giant hulk of a man.
- Gravity Master: Sullivan and his brother Madi can control gravity. Most Heavies can only lighten objects that they try to carry, but Sullivan practiced with his Power enough that he can change the direction of gravity, amplify it, etc.
- Gray Eyes: A trait shared by all Travelers,
- Gun Porn: Toned down from the Monster Hunter International series, since they have magic to fight with too this time, but that doesn't keep John Moses Browning from giving Sullivan a tour of his workshop.
- Handicapped Badass: Madi only has one eye. Lance has a very pronounced limp.
- Happily Adopted: Faye...until her adopted parent is killed by Imperium agents.
- Healing Hands: Healers such as Jane are in high demand, and a standard part of any rich person's retinue.
- Healing Factor: Passive Healers. Also, anyone with one or more kanji of healing.
- Heavyworlder: Apparently, all Spikers/Heavies are huge, stocky types.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Near the beginning of Book Two, the Grimnoir are framed for an assassination attempt on FDR, and spend the rest of the book dealing with the fallout.
- Historical-Domain Character: John J. "Black Jack" Pershing and John Moses Browning are both Grimnoir knights, and Sullivan has some unpleasant dealings with J. Edgar Hoover.
- In the second book, Buckminister Fuller makes a brief but significant appearance. A United States Navy "Lieutenant Heinlein" makes a briefer, much less significant appearance.
- In the third book, it's revealed that Winston Churchill and William Donovan are Grimnoir elders.
- Historical Person Punchline: The UBF accountant (who helped in the climactic battle, explaining that he fought with the Gordon Highlanders in World War One), turns out to be Raymond Chandler.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: In Real Life, Imperial Japan was racist, militaristic, and expansionist, with an array of atrocities to its name. The Imperium is all of that, turned Up to Eleven, and more succesful.
- Hope Spot: Just after defeating the Bull King, Delilah gets run through by a ninja.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The massive Jake and the petite Delilah.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Faye isn't really a Traveler. She's a Cog who's specialty is understanding magic so well that she can use any power.
- Intangible Man: Heinrich, one of the Grimnoir knights, is a Fade, who can walk through walls and let weapons pass right through him.
- Interservice Rivalry: The Iron Guard and Shadow Guard (or at least Madi and Toshiko) do not have a high opinion of each other. The FBI and OCI conflict plays a significant role in the second book.
- It's Raining Men: In Warbound, Sullivan decides to interrupt the false Chairman's Singapore visit. How? By donning a suit of Powered Armor and dropping in. From seventy-five thousand feet up.
- Jerk Ass: Charles. Gould. Stuyvesant.
- Known Only by Their Nickname: The real name of Lady Origami (Also known as Ori for short) is Akane. This doesn't get revealed until late in the third book.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Lance is a Beastie, who can control animals, and generally uses squirrels, birds, and dogs for recon. And then the final battle in Spellbound he decides to borrows a Siberian Tiger from the National Zoo. In Warbound he uses a Polar Bear. And in his final battle he takes over an Imperium Shadow Guard and has him murder all his comrades before committing suicide.
- Living Lie Detector: Justices, such as Hammer.
- Living on Borrowed Time / The Last Dance: Shortly after Delilah is killed, she is accidentally revived as a zombie by an Imperium necromancer. Rather than being immediately put down, she decides to go out fighting.
- Little Miss Badass: Faye, who may or may not be 18 yet and is pretty small. She irritates everyone trying to fight her by not being where they think she is and, in the final battle, kills around a hundred Imperium marines and wounds the Chairman. In Spellbound, the evil OCI chief is scared by Sullivan and a Lance-controlled Siberian Tiger. He's utterly terrified of Faye.
- In Warbound she kills an Imperium Kaga-class zeppelin by herself. As in, she solos the largest, most powerful warship on the plantet. In under four minutes.
- Made of Iron: Madi and Rokusaburo in particular, Brutes, Massives and people with kanji of durability in general.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Turns out there are very structured cosmological underpinnings to the seemingly-random magical gifts.
- Meta Origin: All magic powers (be they innate or the kanji brands) come from The Power.
- Mighty Whitey: Madi is a villainous example leavened only by the fact that there are other Caucasians in the Iron Guard, none of whom are on his level or that of the Japanese members.
- Mind Control: Beasties such as Lance can control animals and see through their eyes for reconnaissance. Mouths like Dan can control people to a limited extent, but can't make them do anything they wouldn't consider anyway.
- Mind over Matter: Francis comes from a long line of Movers.
- Mirror Match: Twice, Sullivan has to go head-to-head with his brother, pitting gravity powers against gravity powers. See also Faye vs. Toshiko
- Mundane Utility: Donald Bryce is a Lazarus who works for the Grimnoir. He used to be an NYPD homicide detective known for always closing his cases.
- Near Death Experience: Both Jake and Faye. When caught up in it, they can see the two most powerful beings on Earth: The Power itself, and the Chairman.
- Necromancer: In-setting, an Active (such as Hiroyasu) that can raise and command zombies is called a "Lazarus." They are the most universally hated groups of Actives, even by other Actives, due to their power.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: The Chairman's philosophy has elements of this; Madi takes those elements and runs with 'em as far as they can go.
- Ninja: The Shadow Guard. Membership is restricted to highly trained Fades and Travelers.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Ninjas, pirates, and zombies all come together for the big climactic fight scene of Hard Magic.
- Then, of course, robots show up in the sequel Spellbound.
- Noble Bigot: Travelin' Joe hates the Okies that pass by his farm, but not so much that he doesn't adopt one to keep her from killing herself with her power.
- Not Quite Saved Enough: The Chairman killed two Pathfinders of The Enemy, but a third is on the way and he isn't around to stop it this time. He actually only killed one. The third Pathfinder is actually the second, which escaped him and has been subverting influential Actives around the world for half a century, and is now ready to call its master.
- Oddly Common Rarity: The first book mentions multiple times that Healers in particular are the rarest of the rare among the rare individuals at are Active... and yet it also mentions multiple forms of Actives who are so rare that they're barely known. People with enough money can find multiple Healers to have on-call, but no one can find a Nixie to ask what he does, despite the name being known. The second book doesn't have anyone talk about how rare Healers are, probably because the heroes keep finding Actives they didn't know of in the first book.
- One Person, One Power: an in-setting rule of thumb to which Chairman Okubo Tokugawa is the sole exception as far as anyone knows, though people who are very skilled with their one power can often emulate a related one. For example, Sullivan can use fine gravity control as a makeshift telekinetic ability. In the third book, Faye figures out how Okubo did it and replicates it.
- Pet the Dog: In a very human and even kind moment, the Chairman consoles Sullivan over Delilah's death and helps him come to terms with it; Sullivan even sincerely thanks him for it. . . right before saying that he still plans on killing him regardless.
- Playing with Fire: Torches. Most Torches are actually employed to put out fires, especially on zeppelins.
- Playing with Syringes: Frequent mention is made of the horrific medical experiments carried out by Unit 731
- Pocket Protector: In their Teleport Spam duel, Toshiko believes she has the upper hand when she slices into what she thinks is Faye's spine. That is until Faye reveals that what was actually hit was the cheap pistol she had purchased earlier. Toshiko does not take this revelation well.
- Poisonous Person: Harkeness is a Pale Horse, an Active so rare they border on mythological status. He can control his power at will, but that doesn't make Stuyvesant any less wary of him.
- Power Armor: The Imperium developed some for the Iron Guard, which were restricted to the elites because of the difficulty of manufacture. Fuller makes a set for Sullivan in the third book.
- Power Tattoo: The kanji used by the Imperium to enhance their operatives. They are technically brands though as opposed to actual tattoos.
- Really 700 Years Old: The Chairman is the very first Active, and is thus considerably older than he looks.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Francis.
- Rule of Cool
- Sadistic Choice: Presented by an accident rather than malice. When Faye shoots Jake, and Heinrich shoots her, Jane only has enough healing power to save one of them.
- Seen It All: Due to his advanced age & extensive travels, the Chairman suffers from a mild case of this.
- Sequel Hook: The glossary references to Active types that didn't otherwise appear in Hard Magic. Boomers (who are kept locked in lead-lined chambers, hint-hint), Nixies and Justices for example.
- All three of which show up in Spellbound.
- School of Seduction: Part of Toshiko's training as a ninja, as observed by Madi. Later, he totally hits that.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Buckminster Fuller. This is apparently a trait he possessed in Real Life.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Faye turnes out to look really good in a nice dress.
- Shock and Awe: Cracklers, although they prefer to be called "Edisons."
- Shout Out: When Sullivan stops to ask directions from an Imperium soldier: "English! Do you speak it?"
- Sky Pirate: The last piece of the Geo-Tel is protected by Southunder, who preys on Imperium ships in the Pacific ocean from his zeppelin.
- Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom: Tesla's "Peace Ray."
- Super Strength: Delilah, enough said.
- Technician Versus Performer: Zig-zagged; while Faye's natural talent lets her run circles around the well-trained Toshiko, Jake's greater power does not generally keep him from getting smacked around by the more skillful Madi.
- Teleport Spam: Any fight involving a Traveler such as Faye, Toshiko, Travelin' Joe, etc.
- The Dragon / The Heavy: Madi, to the Chairman.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Dan and Jane.
- Training from Hell: Madi has this in his backstory. Presumably, the other Iron Guards did as well.
- Un Equal Rites: There are two forms of magic in this world: the innate magic that people are born with, and magic that comes through drawn symbols (kanji). As it turns out, they have the same ultimate source.
- Walking the Earth: The Chairman's backstory includes a long period of doing this.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the assault on OCI headquarters, Lance manages to hijack a Siberian tiger. Then everything goes to hell, almost literally. What happened to the tiger is never explained.
- Wicked Cultured: The Chairman. Madi tries to emulate his mentor in this, but fails miserably.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Chairman just wants humanity to be strong so we'll be able to fight The Enemy when it arrives. Harkeness curses the General in order to set up a Batman-Gambit against the Chairman
- Worthy Opponent: The Chairman views Sullivan as this. The feeling isn't entirely mutual.
- You Fight Like a Cow: Faye (who grew up on a dairy farm) spends much of her fight with Toshiko tossing insults at the ninja.
- You Killed My Adoptive Grandfather: Why Faye joins the Grimnoir.
- Zeppelins from Another World: Kind of. Zeppelins play a large role in the story, but it takes place during a time when they really were used in Real Life, though not to the extent they are in the story. It's also justified, as Cracklers and Torches manage to alleviate many of the dangers of the technology.